Film fetes small steps to address climate change


Posted at Apr 23 2010 07:38 AM | Updated as of Apr 23 2010 03:38 PM

NEW YORK – If "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's Oscar-winning 2006 film on global warming, left audiences depressed about the planet's future, a new film from the same executive producers is designed to lift spirits.

"Climate of Change" premieres at New York's Tribeca Film Festival Thursday -- Earth Day -- and focuses on the efforts by individuals from around the world to reduce their personal carbon footprint while fighting business interests they say threaten the environment.

"I wouldn't exactly call it a feel-good film about climate change, but the idea was not to make a film that was scary," film director Brian Hill told Reuters. "We've got people doing something, people reacting to the kind of messages in films like 'An Inconvenient Truth.'"

The film, produced in part by Participant Media, which produced the Al Gore film, features a group of schoolchildren in Patna, India, explaining how they intend to change the world by protesting the use of plastic.

It also shows a community in Papua, New Guinea, that has banned commercial logging, a group in the US state of West Virginia that is fighting to end mountaintop removal by coal companies, and an organization in Togo that is teaching women to use ovens powered by the sun.

"Climate of Change," narrated by actress Tilda Swinton, argues that average people must work to reduce their own carbon emissions since some industrialized nations and large companies refuse to take significant steps.

"It would be great, and probably more useful in the long run, if governments would get involved," Hill said. "I don't think any government has really decided to tackle it in any forthright and bold manner, which is what you really need."

World leaders are due to meet in Mexico in November for the latest round of climate change talks, but observers say they are skeptical about how far the biggest carbon emitters will agree to go.

The US Congress is also considering legislation to reduce emissions of so-called greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. But the likelihood of passage this year is slim.

Hill said the experience of making the film has changed his behavior: "I'm forever going around the house, turning lights out."